Tag Archives: Baked

Gratin Dauphinois

Apart from its fancy French name, Potato Gratin, or baked potatoes, is real smart dish to make if you’ve got guests coming round to dine on short notice. While the dish is cooking by itself in the oven, you’re free to make other kinds of food.

  1. Using medium-sized potatoes, place them all in the baking dish of choice. TIP! This gives you a rough estimate of how many potatoes you need to fill the entire dish.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 5mm thick disks. Place the potato disks into a mixing bowl as you go along. TIP! If you’re using sweet potatoes, you can choose to leave the skin on, just make sure you scrub them well clean.
  3. Season with minced garlic, thyme, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a good lug of olive oil. If you’re extravagant, use melted butter in place of olive oil.
  4. After ensuring that all disks are coated with the seasoning well, arrange the pieces nicely in the (buttered) baking dish, either in rows or in a round (as in picture above).
  5. Drizzle a round of cream (double cream, if you want), making sure every disk has a little lick of cream.
  6. Cover with foil and chuck it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180ªC.
  7. While that’s happening, you can prepare a lovely gravy and/or glazed vegetables.
  8. After 20 minutes, the potatoes should be almost done, if not already soft. Remove the foil and taste a piece, adjust seasoning accordingly, bearing in mind that the cheese you are about to add can be salty.
  9. Drizzle another round of cream.
  10. Grate Parmesan over the top. Cheddar or any other hard cheese works as well.
  11. Finally, put it back in the oven uncovered, for another 10 minutes, or until the top is gently browned.
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Honey Baked Chicken Thighs

I am a complete sucker for chicken. Using hands and getting dirty somehow adds to the flavour of the food. Fried chicken is what usually gets me going, but oven baked ones are awesome too. For this, it’s best you marinade it overnight, in a bag, in the fridge.

This is for 6 pieces of Honey Baked Chicken Thigh.

Marinade:

  • 1 generous lug of white wine
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of honey, or 2 if you want
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, for colour
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
Preparation:
  1. Get your chicken into a ziplock bag.
  2. It doesn’t matter if the chicken portions are frozen or not, just make sure they’re not stuck to each other.
  3. Get all that stuff of marinade into the bag with the chicken.
  4. Take care to get every bit of meat covered in the marinade.
  5. Stick it in the fridge overnight.
Cooking:
  1. The chicken should have thawed through beautifully and at the same time, have absorbed all that sweet goodness of your marinade. Get your chicken on a tray, skin side up and cover with foil.
  2. In a pre-heated oven of 220°C, stick the tray in for 45 minutes.
  3. After the buzzer goes, remove the foil and turn the temperature down to 180°C. Leave the tray in there for another 15 minutes or so, or until the skin turns golden.
  4. TIP! Not sure if it’s cooked through? Poke in with a fork. If it’s cooked, the juices will run clear, not red.
  5. Let it rest for a couple of minutes.
  6. Serve, without cutlery.

Baked Tortellini

Baked dishes are a breeze; simply shoving the tray into the oven and waiting for a lush treat is not difficult to do at all. Best part is, you’ll get a crispy layer on top, and succulent parts below. You can bake just about anything – from rice to pasta, vegetable to poultry. But here’s what I did last night:

Baked Tortellini

Dump whatever tickles your fancy into a tray, with the parboiled pasta dumplings. For this, I had a base layer of fresh wild rocket leaves, then a bunch of mushrooms and a couple of white onions, all sliced up. The tortellini of choice was bacon-filled, but if you’re vegetarian, spinach-filled ones works too! After adding the tortellini, I grated a hunk of cheese to cover the top, making sure every inch of that pasta goodness was sitting under a snug blanket of mature cheddar. Drizzled with nuts and chopped rocket, the tray goes into the oven, baked till golden and precious.

Welcome the Aroma Fairies to your kitchen.

Before devouring, more rocket is laid atop, together with a sprinkle of paprika for colour.


Unbattered Pollock & Chips

Talk about Fish & Chips, here’s a variation. I wouldn’t say it’s healthier or whatever, it’s just a lazier way you can get some fish and potato chips into your diet. (Of course, it involves more effort than simply popping over to the Fish & Chips store across the road.)

Pan-Fried Pollock & Chips

Together with the special appearance by Mr Mushrooms and Ms Asparagus, both the fish and chips are fried in a pan.

Pollock

Season the less-than-inch-thick fish fillets with salt and pepper and place them gently onto a really hot pan. Let them sizzle away until you can see them getting increasingly cooked on the top. Turn them over for just 40 seconds or so, and remove.

Chips

I cut my potatoes to a quarter the size of a normal chip. This lets them cook faster, and they get crispier too. With butter, thyme, pepper and just a pinch of salt, be gastronomically prepared for some awesome hassle-free chips.

Fish and Potatoes are a great combination. Replace the chips with a mash, and make a white garlic sauce to bond the two. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.


Rosemary’s Chicken

I was at the market a couple of days back and came home with a pot of my favourite herb – rosemary.

Isn’t she lovely? (:

I had to test her powers quick. So, wielding a tiny pair of scissors, I snipped off two sprigs. Immediately, there was a whiff of a beautiful virgin blue fragrance. I smiled, before hurrying to the kitchen to whip up some good old roast.

Tray-Roasted Chicken

Chop up some potatoes, and boil them for a while, with a slice of lemon.

Stick a tray into the oven and preheat it to 180°C. While that’s in there, slice a tomato (or use a stalk of cherry tomatoes), and smash a couple of cloves of garlic, leaving the skin on. Then, run the sprigs of rosemary under hot water for a few seconds. Apparently, doing this helps herbs work their magic better.

Prepare your chicken portions and take a deep breath. By now, the aroma of sweet citric goodness should have filled your kitchen.

Smile.

Once the oven’s almost ready, drain your potatoes and let them steam dry. This way, you’ll have crispier roasted potatoes.

Get the tray out of the oven. Stick the chicken parts in, together with the garlic, tomatoes and rosemary. Toss the potatoes in, and squeeze whatever juice is left of that lemon into the tray as well. Then, the lemon goes into the tray too, not the bin.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil and give it all a splash of white wine. Chuck it back in to the oven; the middle tray for about an hour or so. At the halfway mark, take the dish out and splash in a little more wine. Then, using a spoon or ladle, douse everything in the tray with its own juices, before sending it back into the heat.

When the timer goes off, your dish should look something like this.

It was so good, I wound up finishing everything myself. :D


Greek Hangover

Today, I choose option #4.

1. Piperies Yemistes
2. Psari a la Spetsiota
3. Scorthalia Salata
4. All of the Above

1. Piperies Yemistes (Stuffed Peppers)
Imagine:

  • The sweet yet peppery twang of the capsicums merging completely with grainy rice, earthy with the taste of mushrooms and onions
  • And the flowery aroma of sage and thyme
  • With the occasional treat of bittersweet charred bits of vegetable

2. Psari a la Spetsiota (Baked Fish “Greek Island”)
Imagine:

  • The sour and savoury created by the tease of white wine and vinegar
  • The playful wholeness of rosemary and garlic – a match made in heaven
  • How your teeth sinks into each bite, greeting a crisp crunch of breadcrumbs, followed by a plunge into the tender white fish

3. Scorthalia Salata (Garlic Sauce Salad)
Imagine:

  • All of the flavours above appropriately punctuated by nutty wild rocket leaves and clean watercress, sitting in a sour garlic peanut sauce.

Where their powers combined, a time machine was created; I am transported back to Santorini in Greece.